Two gorillas at a California zoo have tested positive for COVID-19, in what is believed to be the first known cases of the virus among great apes, officials said Monday.
The San Diego Zoo Safari Park said the gorillas began coughing Wednesday, prompting officials to test their fecal samples, which came back positive for the coronavirus.
“Aside from some congestion and coughing, the gorillas are doing well,” Lisa Peterson, the zoo’s director, said in a statement.
“The troop remains quarantined together and are eating and drinking,” Peterson said. “We are hopeful for a full recovery.”
Officials believe the primates caught the virus from an asymptomatic staff member, “despite following all recommended precautions,” the zoo said in a press release.
“This is the first known instance of natural transmission to great apes and it is unknown if they will have any serious reaction,” the statement said.
In an update on the coronavirus pandemic Monday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said a third gorilla was also displaying symptoms of the illness.
“We are currently confirming the source of the infection and the strain,” Newsom said.
“There is some question did it come human to animal. That’s being determined…,” he added.
The virus has also been found in cats, dogs, a lion and a tiger, as well as mink, which officials say appears to be the most susceptible animal so far.
Two gorillas test positive for COVID-19 at San Diego Zoo The British Journal Editors and Wire Services/ New York Post.